Dogs are social creatures and get attached to their human family. So it’s normal for them to keep an eye on their people and follow them around. Shadowing can be a sign of separation anxiety if your dog is hyper alert and tries to anticipate your every move, insists on following you everywhere, and gets distressed when you’re out of sight.
If your dog has a milder case of separation anxiety, they’re able to settle down if they can see where you are. If the case is more severe, your dog will insist on staying close to you at all times. They will follow you from room to room and become highly agitated if they can’t see you. They may also exhibit other symptoms of separation anxiety, such as excessive greeting behaviors.
To learn if your dog’s shadowing behavior may be a sign of separation anxiety, take our quick, free quiz.
Is Your Dog’s Shadowing Separation Anxiety or Something Else?
Some dogs stick close to their owners for reasons unrelated to separation anxiety:
If your dog has started following you around more than usual, there could be a medical cause, such as chronic pain, vision loss or cognitive dysfunction. It’s not unusual for dogs that don’t feel well to seek comfort from their owners.
Lack of socialization/fear:
Dogs that lack confidence will often stick close to their owners in unfamiliar environments or around strangers.
If your dog has noise anxiety, they might shadow you whenever they hear thunder, fireworks or even a noise inside the home, such as the sound of the washing machine.
Some dogs stick close to their owners because they’ve received positive reinforcement (e.g., attention or treats) for their behavior in the past.
Between the ages of 5 and 12 weeks, a puppy goes through an imprint period, when strong connections are made. If they’ve imprinted on a particular person during this time, the puppy is more likely to shadow them.
Decoding Your Dog’s Shadowing
Here are some things to consider:
- Is your dog able to relax in a different room when you’re home or do they insist on staying with you at all times?
- Does your dog get up and follow you even if you stay within sight?
- Does your dog ever wake up from a deep sleep if they hear you leaving the room?
- Do they shadow you only during particular events (e.g., parties or storms)?
- Do they stick close to you outside the home or only inside?
- Do they exhibit other signs of stress when shadowing you (e.g., vocalizing or panting)?
- Is your dog showing other symptoms of separation anxiety when they’re left alone, such as watchful waiting or pacing?
Does Your Dog Have Separation Anxiety?
Take our quick and free quiz to learn if your dog potentially suffers from separation anxiety.
Instant results and a customized report
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Options for Treating Separation Anxiety
If your dog’s vocalization is due to separation anxiety, there are options for treatment, including the Calmer Canine Anxiety Treatment System, behavior modification training, compression wearables, and more.